NVIDIA today released its new nForce 780a SLI platform that supports the Hybrid SLI technology. Hybrid SLI is a technology that makes a IGP work together with a discrete graphics card, this can save a lot of power in idle mode (HybridPower Technology) and can give a performance boost in games (GeForce Boost Technology).
The visual capabilities of typical PCs are driven by either integrated graphics on the motherboard or by higher performance, discrete graphics cards, like NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. Unfortunately, the most common integrated graphics chips lack the performance and features needed by many popular modern 3D applications, games, and movies. Discrete graphics cards deliver a far superior visual experience, but consume more energy.
Hybrid SLI-enabled motherboards eliminate this problem by putting a GeForce GPU directly on the motherboard. This GeForce GPU has better DirectX compatibility and HD movie playback capability than the most common integrated graphics chips found in today’s PCs, but consumes less energy than a discrete graphics card. But that’s only the start.
Designed for PC enthusiasts and hard-core gamers, the HybridPower™ feature completely powers down the discrete graphics cards and switches graphics processing to the motherboard GPU in applications where major 3D horsepower is not required, such as e-mail and Web surfing. Users will appreciate the lower energy consumption, quieter PC operation, and less heat. When additional 3D horsepower is needed, it can be manually transitioned back to discrete graphics cards using HybridPower technology, which are then powered up and ready to rock the 3D world. Hybrid SLI technology can save hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the life of the PC for high-end, enthusiast-class PCs, and deliver additional graphics performance for more mainstream desktops via these two features.
For mainstream users, a Hybrid SLI technology feature called GeForce Boost allows the user to add an additional graphics card for even more graphics horsepower. By combining the performance of the motherboard GPU and graphics card discrete GPUs, GeForce Boost increases overall graphics performance up to 50% for today’s visually intensive applications and home entertainment.
The technology sounds promising but unfortunately the support is still very limited. You need a motherboard with a nForce 780a SLI, nForce 750a SLI, nForce 730a, nForce 720a, GeForce 8300, GeForce 8200 or GeForce 8100 chipset and even then it only works on four graphics card. The HybridPower technology to save power only works on the GeForce 9800 GX2 and GeForce 9800 GTX graphics cards and the GeForce Boost technology is only compatible with the GeForce 8400 GS and GeForce 8500 GT.
Hybrid SLI-enabled PC motherboards for Intel processors and Hybrid SLI-enabled notebooks will be available in Q3 of 2008.